Violent Institutional Misconduct in the Transition from Juvenile to Adult Correctional Facilities

AuthorChad R. Trulson,Jessica M. Craig,Jonathan W. Caudill,Matt DeLisi
Published date01 November 2022
Date01 November 2022
Subject MatterArticles
Violent Institutional
Misconduct in the
Transition from Juvenile
to Adult Correctional
Chad R. Trulson
, Jessica M. Craig
Jonathan W. Caudill
and Matt DeLisi
This study examines patterns of violent institutional misconduct among a
cohort of serious juvenile offenders who were incarcerated in state-level juve-
nile correctional facilities and then state adult prison institutions. Within the
cohort, one group of offenders was immediately transferred to the adult pri-
son system following their incarceration in a juvenile correctional facility. The
other portion of the cohort was rst released to the community, and then
later incarcerated in adult prisons. Results of the analysis indicate that being
a younger prison inmate with a history of childhood trauma and considered
a high-rate violent institutional misconduct perpetrator as a juvenile ward
were signicant predictors of engaging in violent misconduct in adult prisons.
Implications for theory, research, and practice are discussed.
juvenile offender, institutional misconduct, childhood trauma, juvenile
correctional facility
University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA
University of Colorado, Springs, CO, USA
Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA
Corresponding Author:
Chad R. Trulson, University of North Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 1155 Union Circle
#305130, Denton, Texas, 76203, USA.
The Prison Journal
2022, Vol. 102(5) 519541
© 2022 SAGE Publications
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00328855221121079
Juvenile offenders face a variety of hardships in the criminal justice system,
particularly if placed in adult prisons.
Compared to youth detained in the
juvenile justice system, juvenile offenders processed and sanctioned in the
criminal justice system are more insulated from rehabilitation programs
(Bishop & Frazier, 2000; Ng et al., 2012; Redding, 2003) and suffer
greater developmental disruptions than youth retained in the juvenile justice
system (Mulvey & Schubert, 2012). Juveniles placed in the criminal justice
system have higher rates of depression (Ng et al., 2011), suicide (Holman
& Ziedenberg, 2006; Ruch et al., 2019), risk of victimization (Ahlin &
Hummer, 2019; Mulvey & Schubert, 2012), and post-incarceration recidi-
vism compared to those retained in the juvenile justice system and in juvenile
correctional facilities (Bishop et al., 1996; Johnson et al., 2011;
Lanza-Kaduce et al., 2005; Myers, 2003; Winner et al., 1997; Zane et al.,
Despite these and other consequences, a burgeoning but still underdeveloped
area of inquiry has been paid to the institutional behavior of juveniles, and
youthful offenders who have just transitioned to early adulthood, during their
incarceration in adult prison facilities (Kolivoski & Shook, 2016; Kuanliang
et al., 2008; Leigey & Hodge, 2013; Tasca et al., 2010). Juveniles and young
adult inmates are perhaps one of the least stable and most vulnerable populations
in the adult prison setting due to their young age, psychosocial decits, and
general lack of criminal sophistication (Redding, 2003; Reidy et al., 2018;
Salekin et al., 2001; Valentine et al., 2015; Woolard et al., 2005). Perhaps
because of these issues, one of the most robust ndings in the institutional
behavior literature is that juveniles and young adult inmates are consistently
more engaged in prison disciplinary misconduct than older inmates (Cihan &
Sorensen, 2019; Cihan et al., 2017; Sorensen & Davis, 2011; Steiner et al.,
2014; Valentine et al., 2015; Walters & Crawford, 2013).
At the same time that juveniles and young adult inmates tend to be the most
problematic inmates with respect to involvement in institutional misconduct
in adult prisons, this type of behavior can lead to a number of other collateral
consequencesconsequences that may be heightened for the youngest adult
prison inmates. For example, involvement in institutional misconduct can
serve to knife offimportant rehabilitation and programming opportunities
activities which might serve to dampen involvement in disciplinary viola-
tions (Bishop & Frazier, 2000; Trulson et al., 2010). Involvement in institu-
tional misconduct, especially serious misconduct, may also lead to other
deleterious consequences which can further reduce access to rehabilitation
services, such as placement in higher custodies and more restrictive
520 The Prison Journal 102(5)

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